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15 May 2008 @ 09:18 am
So I admit it - I have one reality show addiction, and it's America's Next Top Model. Say what you will, but I admit to being utterly captivated by it. (I started catching marathons of old seasons on MTV, and that was it, now I Tivo all the new seasons.) Unlike a lot of reality TV, the goal is not to humiliate contestants, and though the judges occasionally say harsh things, I'm sorry, but I've read enough about the modeling world to know those are nice compared to what these girls will hear working as actual models. What the judges say and what their coaches say are trying to prepare them for that, and yes, push them to a higher level of skill/talent. Most of these girls are so young, this is their first dose of the really real world of business, and what it takes to survive it.

Anyway, it is addictive. I love picking my favorites, watching as some girls go from awkward and unsure to confident and poised. Who's going to break down and cry, who's going to be the b*tch, and who's going to be professional. I love predicting who will win, and who will go home. It's not all about looks. A LOT of modeling is about personality, and allowing your personality to shine. Anyway, most seasons have at least one "plus size" contestant. In the modeling world, plus size means a size 10 or 12, which means OMG a normal woman with actual curves! vs the skinny girls who have, well, none. And I know it's not always easy being a size 0 or 2 and I've had friends who have, by God, tried to put on weight and couldn't, who lamented having no boobs, etc. But I'm in that camp of curvy women who struggle to keep off those twenty (or thirty) extra pounds. Most of those curvy girls have humungous confidence issues that end up crippling them. Seriously, the judges are all for the curvy gals continuing forward, but 99 times out of 100, they can't get past their own confidence issues to really shine as models. The longer the competition goes, the more they start to crack.

Then this season, we had Whitney. Now, Whitney was SO fierce about her goal to be the first "plus size" ANTM, she came across as a real bitch a lot of the time. There were a couple of other girl's waaaaay more childish and angry (Lauren and Claire - I was glad to see both of them go home) but Whitney was in their little "clique" for awhile, and she reminded me of every bitchy, popular girl I hated in high school. And she kept going on and on and ON about "No plus size model has ever made it this far. I'm a plus size model, blah, blah." I wanted to slap her half the time and say "Look, if you were really confident, you wouldn't have to keep saying that! If you're going to win, it'll be because you're just that good of a MODEL, not because you're whatever-sized. Jeesh. Get over it, or you're going to fail just like all the others." But that aggressive bravado was Whitney's armor - it was her way of getting through the competition in a house full of, yes, skinny and pretty girls. She also had this really fake smile and way of presenting herself, and the judge's nailed it every time. "We want to see the REAL Whitney", they would say. She was in the bottom two four times. For most of this cycle, I was convinced it was going to come down between Fatima and Anya, and Fatima would win. (And dude, that girl needs to pursue her career, because she can totally go on to be a supermodel without ANTM's backing. Every picture she took was fabulous.)

Well, the final three came down between Fatima, Anya, and Whitney. By this time, most of Whitney's attitude had vanished enough that I was really starting to root for her. Last night, they filmed their Cover Girl commercial. And all three of them pretty much choked in one way or another. Anya talks with this funny accent that makes her completely incoherent half the time. Fatima couldn't stop being wooden and empty, and Whitney, while not as fake as some previous attempts, didn't let enough of the 'real' Whitney through. Still, it was Anya and Whitney the judges picked for the final two. And then they got to do a runway walk for Versace. DUDE. I think this is the most famous designer to ever work with ANTM. The girl's were practically sick they were so nervous, and who could blame them?

I actually found this cycle's final runway pretty boring - most of the time it's strange, super long, or really challenging (like the one that was under water - seriously). This was just your run-of-the-mill fashion runway, but maybe the judges felt that modeling for VERSACE was enough of a challenge all by itself. And honestly? whitney rocked that final runway, and Anya, for the most part, choked. She did not come across as fierce, and about 70% of her personality vanished, while suddenly Whitney's shone through. Maybe it was the idea that she, a size 10, was getting to model Versace, but she rocked it! Her walk was this fabulous sexy strut without being at all slutty or fake. I was so hoping the judges would agree with me - and GASP - they did!

A size 10 girl won ANTM! A girl MY SIZE won! I am ridiculously excited, and can't wait to see where her career takes her.

A couple of pics where you can see both how pretty she is, and how curvy:

Perri: buffy evil buttneonhummingbird on May 15th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
I gave up on ANTM quite some time ago, sadly, but I'm really happy to learn a plus-size model (< rolling eyes because she's slightly smaller than I am >) finally won. And these photos are awesome!!!
Gwynna Stargwynnastar on May 15th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC)
Hello, I'm new to your LJ. Found it through another writer. Mizkit I believe...

I wanted to comment on ANTM. Some weeks ago I found myself watching some reruns of a previous season on MTV. It was down to the last 3 girls, but the girl I liked didn't win. I can't remember her name, but she was blonde and had the vision disability. I thought she was really beautiful. However, I think the judges ruled her out because she was a bit shy.

I will have to catch the most recent season, though I already know the winner. LOL! She is very lovely, and it's nice to see a *normal* sized woman win this kind of modeling show.

Also, I have read a few pages of your LJ and we have a lot in common, so you have been added to my friend's list. =)

I'm a writer, and more specifically Science Fiction operas, Military Science Fiction, ect... So, I'm enjoying your posts about writing. It's a rewarding experience, but also very frustrating. LOL!

rhienellethrhienelleth on May 15th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Hey! Yeah, I friended you back last night - I took a look at your profile and interests, and deduced you might have found me via mizkit. I've been commenting over there a lot recently because of Ironman. :) Anyway, it looked like we had quite a few common interests, so mutual friending!

On ANTM - I'm sure it won't be long before they run this season on MTV, lol. It had several really talented girls, well worth catching on reruns. But I am very pleased a 'normal' woman won. Maybe Whitney will get to realize her dream of breaking the modeling mold.

Oh! You write SF? Military SF? I am completely intrigued! This recent book is my first foray into that, and I am finding it a real struggle stepping out of my comfort zone (fantasy, some paranormal romance). I love to read good SF, but writing it is much harder than I ever thought it would be. The actual science/militaristic parts. Though it's mostly space opera with some military touches, LOL.

Gwynna Stargwynnastar on May 15th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, I write SF. Though the Military SF I write is on the light side. *smiles*

Writing wise, you are farther ahead than me. I'm not even close to finishing a book. I just have outlines and sporadic chapters at this point. My BIG story will end up being 3 books long. Oh dear... =(

So my plan for now is to work on writing a few smaller 1 book novels and begin my publishing journey that way. I am not sure whether I will go with traditional publishing or self-publishing. I'd like my first novel to be self-published, that way I don't lose my nerve thinking that I'm writing for someone else, and not myself.

Actually, I'm in awe of you that you've clearly finished some of your stories, and are working on finding an agent. Kudos! =)

Oh, and my LJ is a mix of RL, writing, book selling and some family drama. Be prepared. LOL!
Stephstephdub on May 16th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
I am SO SO SO SO SO happy that Whitney won! I was rooting for her all through this cycle. I just thought she was so beautiful and loved the fact that she was full figured, plus size, whatever you want to call it. Sometimes Fatima would be on screen and she was just so freaking skinny I wanted to force feed her cookies! I was glad when they were on their go sees that the designer that wouldn't use Whitney for being a size 10 also wouldn't use Fatima for being a zero.

I was really glad that Whitney pulled it off, and got her act together. I was so dissapointed when she did her Italian Cover Girl ad and it was so fake. I knew she had it in her to be so much better! Geeze, I'm like her cheerleader over here lol!

I love the pictures of her that you picked. I really hope she goes far.